Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Confessions of an Aspergers Mom

I haven't written a blog confession in a long time.

I keep trying to write blog posts, but I can't. Physically can't. Or maybe it's mentally.

The kids went back to school this week and it was quiet. . . aside from Little Miss. She doesn't *do* quiet. Constantly "Mama, Mama, Mama" and touching me. She's been waking up in the middle of the night, climbing in to my bed and sleeping with her arm around me. This means I'm not sleeping. At all.

I have written sentences and erased them so many times because I can't get my thoughts together.

It's times like this when I realize how my ADD and undiagnosed Aspergers impacts my every day. Oh wait, we're not supposed to call it Aspergers any more. It's all just autism.

The TV is on in the background and my brain can't.

Just imagine trying to watch a movie with someone waving their hands in front of your face constantly. With someone else whispering in your ear. You can almost see the picture on the screen, but that person just won't get out of the way.  You keep moving your head to see around, but can't.

And that person next to you whispering in your ear is making it impossible to hear the dialogue. And he or she is a  stranger...sitting uncomfortable close and breathing on you. Like hot breath, so your skin starts to crawl.

It seems like the room may even be closing in around you.

And that's just trying to write a blog post with the TV on.

Monday night, I attended a meeting about neighborhood issues. NPR was on low volume in the background. No one else seemed to notice. People were discussing neighborhood concerns  and my ears kept focusing on what was happening in Egypt. All the voices from the room and the radio seemed on the same volume.

My doctor calls it a filtering problem.

All of this builds up inside me and my fingers end up frozen over the keyboard struggling to get what is happening in my head on to the screen.

 You know how when you walk in to a room and completely forget what you went in there for?

My brain does that complete stop. Reboot. What was I doing?

With every noisy distraction.

 I just want all the noise to stop.

I have two options when things get like this: I go into Leelee's room and shut the door or I go to the gym. Judging by how my pants aren't fitting, I've been spending far too much time in the upstairs room with the lights off.

When I go to the gym, there's no headphones or music or even book reading. I can't multitask. The repetition of moving my feet up and down on the arc trainer is enough. I watch the numbers appear on the screen and I do calculations on exactly how many calories I'm actually burning per minute and if I want to reach a certain caloric goal, what my stride must be vs how long I need to stay at a specific stride to reach that goal.

I'm not sure which is more appealing: the quiet, the repetition or figuring out the math.

I don't want to come home before the kids are in bed. If they are still awake, it's a complete sensory overload: singing, whining, goodnight hugs, and everyone filling me in on what I missed during the hour I was gone...all at the same time.

Too many things plugged in to one circuit and it overloads. 

Sometimes, my brain filter turns all the way on. I filter out everything that isn't important to me at that moment. Noise, children...even eating. A giant DO NOT DISTURB sign in my head. When someone ignores the sign that only I can see, I open the door and tell them to go away. Only not that nicely. Understanding social cues was never my thing.

Don't get me wrong, I can fake it really well. Or not. I tend to be overly social in real life. The Boy's math teacher last year said he was the most social person with autism she has ever met. Autism isn't about not being social. It's about not knowing or recognizing appropriate social cues and norms. We don't know when to stop talking or when the conversation has drifted. We keep trying to get the conversation back to things we are comfortable with. So it may sound like we are always talking about ourselves or the things we love. Or we're telling our life stories to the person next to us in the check out line. That whole "Don't talk to strangers" thing doesn't work too well in our house.

Having a child with autism helps. He understands me. I understand him. Sometimes, I think he saved me. Without him, I wouldn't know why I'm like this. Without learning what to do to help him, I would have never learned what to do to help myself.  We both need quiet and that time to detach from the world and recenter ourselves.

Of course when he was younger and the only thing that would calm him down was touching my feet, it was a completely different story. Don't ever touch my feet. Ever. It's like a thousand needles in my skin  and a person screaming in my ears all at once. But I did it for my son. It's when I truly understood how much a mother is really willing to sacrifice for her child.

I take my hour a day at the gym or an hour in the dark room and pray its enough for me to go on to another day of too much noise and too much touch. And I remind myself they won't be small forever.



linked up at: project stash ** wildly original **all things thursday ** house of hepworths ** ** weekend wonders ** the creative connection **tater tots and jello **

9 comments:

  1. Micki, I admire you, I truly admire you. You are an amazing woman and I thank you for helping me to understand what I have always wanted to. You son is very lucky to have someone so in tune with his needs! most don't have that! Keep on doing what you doing to take care of yourself and I think posting about your autism struggles (your own and your sons) is a gift that you are able to give to all of us. In all the years that I have known of autism and the different aspects of the spectrum I have never had a person explain how it can affect someone so clearly. That is part of your gift sweetie, don't be afraid to tell you story! God Bless you and your family! Karen @ The Decorated Nest

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  2. Thank you for opening up and explaining it all so well, Micki. You are a brave and strong women, and I admire your daily sacrifice. My prayers are with you. :)

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  3. After reading your post I understand so much more.

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  4. My grandson has been diagnosed with Asperger's and your post helps to understand so much more than reading everything I have... Thank you for sharing. Found you through I Gotta Create....

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  5. Oh my goodness Micki that really hit home. I'm an ADHD gal myself but noise/volume has always been such a huge irritant to me. Some times more than others but usually most. I truly admire the way you were able to share and explain this so well. I felt like you were there speaking just to me. You have a gift! And, I'm so happy you're sharing it.
    Cheers to you and yours,
    Therese @ Fresh Idea Studio
    oh btw I'm popping over from Jen's Party Palooza. we're neighbors. ;) So glad I did!

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  6. Micki,
    You have taken something I've known about from the purely intellectual realm into an emotional and visceral understanding. Your words shine a light that can help create understanding and compassion. Thank you. Bless you.

    <3 Christina @ I Gotta Create!

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  7. Micki, I too have a grandson with Autism. He was diagnosed at age 3 and is now 18. We use to call him Dennis the Menace. It seemed like he was listening but he was still getting into things even after he was told not to and he agreed not to. It was almost like a short term memory issue. One time he actually put himself on pause much like Kronk did in the movie "The Emperors New Groove". He even made the noise! I still laugh when I think about it.
    http://youtu.be/Fv-sKP17xTw
    He is a wonderful, functioning young man now. He taught me so much. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Micki, I too have a grandson with Autism. He was diagnosed at age 3 and is now 18. We use to call him Dennis the Menace. It seemed like he was listening but he was still getting into things even after he was told not to and he agreed not to. It was almost like a short term memory issue. One time he actually put himself on pause much like Kronk did in the movie "The Emperors New Groove". He even made the noise! I still laugh when I think about it.
    http://youtu.be/Fv-sKP17xTw
    He is a wonderful, functioning young man now. He taught me so much. Thank you for sharing.

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Thanks and have a great day!